Monday 28th November

It was such a lovely day today, with plenty of sunshine, and a fresh easterly wind, and a small group of members opened the Club for a special Birthday treat for Ellie Carter -14years today. 
Having got special permission to take the day off school, JB put Ellie through her paces with all the usual handling and launch failure checks and as luck would have it, the wind also dropped at just the right time.

So after a lot of delicious birthday cake, one final check flight with Pete Harmer and as the sun was starting to head downwards, Ellie enjoyed two perfect circuits in K21 solo "without that noisy Instructor in the back".

Ellie Carter - solo
- Congratulations to Ellie for a very special birthday treat, and thanks to all the helpers for making it possible - J&P

Saturday 26th November

Yet again another cold winters day with the wind chill on the airfield making it feel like 2° to 3°. Members unfortunately were greeted by low cloud and poor visibility, which scuppered  flying for the first part of the morning.

After much debating, plenty of tea and mid-morning snacks a decision was made to unpack kit in the hope that some flying could be achieved, albeit only cable breaks. Kit was walked to the SW corner and flying commenced a little before noon. Initially it was red card conditions which quickly turned into yellow with the freshening wind.
To start, it was cable breaks and check flights because of the cloud. Most launches were around 700-900ft. Several hours later there were enough gaps in the cloud to gain full launch height allowing members to fly around for 6-7 minutes.
Another North Hill sunset (Lizzie Westcott)
Towards mid-afternoon around 3:30, kit was packed away in preparation for the AGM that evening. Total of 19 flights. - Will Stainer

The clubhouse was packed to the brim with 90 members. It was a good meeting with constructive comments and friendly atmosphere was enjoyed by all. The new Committee can now work towards fulfilling the members wishes over the coming year. Thanks to all of those who attended ....
Wide angle makes the clubhouse look huge (Mark Courtney)
 .....and a special thanks to Cheryl and Graham for the excellent food they provided for 40 members. - Lisa Humphries

The AGM was followed by the annual presentation of trophies. 
Trophy winners (Robert Lee)
 Thank you to Martin Woolner  for presenting the trophies, stepping down as CFI, and congratulations to all the winners. - J&P  

Sunday 20th November

Today was a slightly warmer day than yesterday, but still noticeably cold. Sadly, once again very few members with a very short flying list by 9:30am. After last night’s torrential rainstorm, kit was slowly unpacked allowing the field to drain enough.  Flying began just after 10:30am with Matt Williamson in 611 taking an aerotow to 2000ft. Conditions once again were very smooth with little or no wind throughout the day. Very strange for mid-winter!

As the day progressed more and more instructors started to appear. This left more instructors than students and at one point we had 9 instructors and only 3 students to fly.  Evidently the instructors were bored so a game of “rate your landing” was played.
K21 landing (Will Stainer)
Towards the afternoon it was reported there may be some lift coming off the NW ridge. Timing was everything and those who were lucky to catch it were rewarded to a few more minutes extra in the air. With the weather closing in cloud base began to lower to around 2,000ft. This did not stop us though and several more training flights and aerotows were flown in-between the gaps.
Above the clouds in the Pawnee (James Hood)
At the end of the day and after a few check flights Karen King was sent off solo. Congratulations Karen for soloing again after so many years.
Karen solo again after 16 years (Mark Courtney)
By 3:30pm everybody had flown and kit was packed away. Once again many thanks to all who made it possible. Overall a pretty good flying day for late November with a total of 23 flights. - Will Stainer

Saturday 19th November

The day started off icy cold with the previous day's snow shower frozen to the field. Clearly most members had either seen the weather forecast or did not want to venture out into the cold. 
Frozen snow melt (Oscar Leeson)
By 9:30 and with a very bare flying list, a handful of members walked the gliders over to the NE corner to begin flying. Check flights post and pre-solo training seemed to be the main agenda for the day, although there were a few Junior flights including a father and son aerotow with Oscar Leeson piloting the Junior and his dad Simon flying the tug. Conditions in the air were benign although there was some noticeable sink on the NW ridge. At around 1pm flying was stopped for lunch. With the weather deteriorating rapidly 2 quick flights were squeezed in after lunch before a decision was made to pack up due to rain
A total of 18 flights today. Thanks to all who made it possible. - Will Stainer

Thursday 17th November

The windy showery forecast was timed just about right, but there was hope to squeeze in some flying first thing. 
When the first two launches struggled to keep the speed down and there were two broken weak links, in a mixture of rough rotor type wave there was a short consultation between Pete and Peter before repacking the hangar. The promised rain belt turned up as forecast at lunchtime, but was followed by a series of rapid troughlines.  So after more debate on the proposed AGM motions we called it a day. - J&P

Wednesday 16th November

The forecast for today was for a strong westerly wind with low cloud to start with and rain arriving after 2:00pm.
Peter Smith who was standing in for John Sillett, started the ball rolling with a met flight closely followed by John Street and Mike Fitz who had a launch to 1,700ft, although the launch was high we were back on the ground in 8min with the constant sink everywhere.
The first few launches were uncomfortably rough, Matt Wright and Pete Startup dragged out the DG505 to show us how its done, but were no more successful, as the day progressed it got calmer and less rough and the ridge began to work.
Eric Alston rejoined us again after his two and half month exile in Turkey looking as brown as a Turk and feeling the change in temperature from the Meditteranean.
Eric and Robert launching at lunchtime (John Street)
Whilst the rest of the club went to lunch Eric in the DG505 and Robert Lee in the Junior spent the next hour on the ridge, Robert allegedly had the longest flight of the day and allegedly air braked down.
We welcomed Pat Wiseman a new member to the fold, and there was some lively discussions about the winches and new clubhouse.
It was a very interesting day and plenty of soaring for those lucky enough to fly at the right time, the rain that was forecast arrived about 3:30pm and we managed to get the kit away without getting too wet.  - John Street

Sunday 13th November

A clear forecast for the day looked promising. Sure enough by around 9am the flying list was already fairly long.  Initially 2 K21’s and a Junior were walked up to the SW corner. Shortly after a K13 joined us to help ease the flow. A change in schedule today as the Supacat was brought on line alongside the Skylaunch. The first couple of launches, mostly training and check flights went smoothly with no drama.
Skylaunch and SupaCat side by side (Mike Sloggett)
At 11am all gliders were grounded briefly and a 2 minute silence was held to remember those that had fallen.

Conditions in the air were relatively smooth with a slight crosswind from the North. A red flag was raised and remained throughout the day. At times the northerly ridge was known to be working, but only to provide an extra couple of minute’s flight time for the lucky few.
Clean air (Mike Sloggett)
At around midday, wave clouds were spotted off into the distance. Sadly this was too far and too high to fly to. With winter in full swing the light started fading at a mere 3:30pm shortening our day.
Fading light
At around 4pm the field became very cold, a decision was made to pack up. Unfortunately due to misfortune the Supacat’s a parachute link broke, so the last few hangar flights were launched via Skylaunch.
Broken swivel (Will Stainer)
A good days flying for November, with everyone on the list flown. Thanks to everyone. Total of 43 launches - Will Stainer

The French Silene - so good they only made 10
Sunday saw a subset of Team Eagle ably assisted by H5Matt, H5 Claire and Stirling picking up a new 2 seat project glider from Nympsfield. The open trailer for this was until recently a garden feature so not immediately seen as motorway ready. Lord Jones of Hemyock brought forth the novel solution of using a car transporter for the 10m long glider trailer. 500 kg of steel ballast and warning flags made it all seem sensible but the journey south at 48mph max demonstrated that even the best 4x4 by far has its limits! Safely installed in a secret establishment on the Blackdowns, the project begins…

Saturday 12th November

Thursday 10th November

From the forecast we were expecting to have to wait for the weak cold front to clear so KEK was rigged and an early lunch was planned. 
So how many people helped rigging? (Mark Courtney)
There was strangely very little wind all morning  with the low cloud, which was a little unexpected, but we got going just after 2:00pm eventually with an increasing north westerly and clearing skies. The ridge worked well for most of the afternoon, with a couple of brief interludes with mass landings. It looked like a big rain shower was coming through reported at Cullompton, but it managed to slide past to the west of the airfield.
Clearing skies after the shower passed by (Jill Harmer)
Paul Little in Open Cirrus CEC takes the prize for the longest flight of over an hour and Dartmoor visitor Rich Roberts in his Discus also had a good flight. 15 flights in total with Malcolm Vest just missing out.

Wednesday 9th November

Because of the strong wind and poor forecast not many members turned up today, as soon as enough bodies had turned up, we got one K21 out. 
A good strong northwesterly (John Street)
Pete Warren took the first flight with Malcolm Vest after the wind strength had eased a little and found plenty of ridge and thermal lift and airbraked down after 30min to let others fly, John Street and Chris Warnes were not so lucky on the second flight they had to return early because of an approaching  line squall.
In the meantime John Sillett got the DG505 out ready to fly, but by this time the rain was quite heavy so we went to lunch.
Heavy downpour stops flying (John Street)
During lunch the rain got worse so regrettably we put the kit away and put paid to a day that showed early promise and retired to the clubhouse to discuss the American Presidential Election and other more important issues. - John Street.

Monday 7th November - Spectacular Southdowns

Spectacular Autumn Colours
I doubt you will believe me when I tell you that the forecast for northerly winds on Monday had held steady for about 5 days, but hold it did and unaccustomed to this kind of long range possibility it was still a fairly last minute flurry  of emails and Whatsapp messages which precipitated a record number of NHL pilots going off to enjoy the wonder of the Southdowns. In all 6 gliders made the trip to Parham, 230, 711, HOG, JB and M5 joined SM who had arrived the day before for some extra fun at Parham. H5Matt joined in too but he had wangled himself a seat in Dan's Arcus and not content with just soaring the Southdowns they were going to do it launching from Nympsfield and motoring back afterwards just because they could.

The steady forecast  also meant that a great many other visitors also turned up and were raring to go and so by the time the first launches got under-way just after 9am the next local in the queue was number 12.
Golden swath of leaves on the ground behind the trees (Ron Johns)
The wind was a blustery 350-010/25 kts with  generous helpings of thermal gusts which made the ride almost uncomfortable at times and which produced some very strong sink, usually when you least wanted it. The NHL gang set a 344km task of 5 beats of the ridge between Lewes and Butser Hill which meant covering an extra 68km getting to the start and getting back from the finish to bring the actual distance flown to more than 410km. Not bad for November!
Getting low after a particularly nasty bit of sink
Nearly all of us completed the task at varying speeds ranging from a more pedestrian 90kph to a slightly faster 112 kph but were all much slower than the pointy boys, chock full to the brim with ballast, hugging the tree-line and clocking in with speeds in the high 140's. Neither my nerves, teeth or gel coat could have coped with that abuse and anyway our more leisurely pace gave us more of a chance to soak in views of the magnificent late Autumn colours. Phil and Ron in 711 were so lost in the spectacle that they also lost track of how many laps they had done and ended up landing on the last leg unaware of their error.
John Pursey in LAK12 HOG on the home ridge
By sunset we were all back, derigged, paid up and grinning from ear to ear before we discovered that our post-flight, pre-drive home meal would be thwarted by the locked door of the pub and so rather than hang around for an hour waiting for it to open it was time to hit the road.
Smoking the ridge near Lewes

Sunday 6th November

A bright forecast encouraged suitable keenness among the members today with a long flying list in place before the hangar doors were opened at around 8:30am.

Soon a K21, the DG505, a Junior and a K13 were being brought out of the hangar whilst the launch point and winch were set up for the North West / South East run. - Although the wind was mainly of a Northerly direction with a little bit of East from time to time the forecast was for the wind to move more to the North West as the day progressed so it was hoped that the decision to start in this direction would be well founded.
Clear blue sky to start (Mike Sloggett)
As it happened the wind stayed in the same direction for most of the day but gradually strengthened with the card colours moving up through from an initial Red, via Yellow, to Blue by mid afternoon.

The crosswind conditions provided continuing  opportunities throughout the day for pre- and post- solo pilots to demonstrate / practice their skills whether on a standard approach or in eventuality situations.
Strong crosswind (Mike Sloggett)
Late afternoon after a short pause to allow a brief hail shower to move across the field, the final flight of the day was completed just in time for the gliders to be put away in to the hangar as the skies darkened and heavy rain appeared.
HCX at the end of the rainbow (Mike Sloggett)
A good start to flying weekends in November with both today and yesterday allowing a number of members to get into the air and enjoy some autumn flying - 43 flights today. - Mike Sloggett

Saturday 5th November

A quiet day at the club today, strong northerly crosswind......
Great photos today (Lisa Humphries)

 ....... and very cold......
DG505 at sunset (Lisa Humphries)

 ...... but beautiful clear skies and as always a lovely atmosphere. 

Nick Jones and many helpers put the finishing touches to the bonfire (James Hood)

It was great to see the Clubhouse buzzing with members, friends and lots of children enjoying the Bonfire night, thanks to all who arranged and participated. We collected £124 for the Ian Beckett fund  - so thanks to all from the Juniors. - Lisa

Thursday 3rd November

It wasn't as cold as forecast - in fact there was no wind at all to start with, but there was very little sun. 
Nice clouds (Mark Courtney)
However there were 1500ft launches and extended circuits just floating around in something...
K21 on  approach (Mark Layton)
Paul Kane got his Bronze and Red card signed up, and the prize for the longest flight was shared by Richard Harris in Junior and Paul Little in Open Cirrus at 11 minutes, with several more at 10 minutes. Paul and Chris Coville were enjoying their new acquisition.
Paul Little Open Cirrus (Mark Layton)

Later in the afternoon,  a southerly wind developed at height, and it started to get a bit darker, and some rain appeared out of the still quite high cloud, calling an early bath.
Chris and Malcolm sheltering form the rain (Mark Layton)

It was a really nice pleasant day, thanks to everyone - a total of 37 launches.

Wednesday 2nd November

After the gloom and low cloud of the past week it was refreshing to arrive at the club with unbroken sunshine, the wind direction was less than helpful though with a light northerly wind veering sometimes with a bit of east in it.
Mike Fitz & John Street wondering if there will be any lift (John Street)
The launches were around 1,000ft due to the unhelpful nature of the wind, so most of the time the flights were quite short, there was a bit of thermal activity with Dave Clements having the longest flight of 20min.
Autumn Colours (Mark Layton)
Pete Smith looked after the trial lessons whilst Robert was the tuggie for today. Pete & Jill went for a ride round Exmoor in the Rotax Falke.
We had a visitor from Toronto,Canada - Roger , 
Site check for Roger from Toronto (John Street)
who enjoyed flying with us he loved flying the K21s much better than anything he has flown in Canada.
A glorious North Hill Sunset (David Clements)
Andrew Logan was the only private owner to fly in his K6. -  John Street.